This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Breathtaking Lake House Completely Open To Its Natural Surrounds

Architecture

Australians don’t have much tradition in lake house architecture. When we think of spots to retreat beside a body of water, most of us think of the ocean. But this monolithic residence in Pacific Palms (260km north of Sydney) makes a great case for the lake house!

Matthew Woodward Architecture were engaged to create a sturdy but experimental residence atop this windswept 25-acre property overlooking Wallis Lake on the north coast of New South Wales. The result is a robust dwelling, crafted from rough and raw textures that will weather with time, and blends seamlessly into the rugged surrounds.

11th June, 2020

The humble front door shows no indication of the vast construction beyond! Photo – Brett Boardman.

Concrete was chosen for its thermal insulation properties as well as its aesthetic Photo – Brett Boardman.

Timber and concrete are a natural material marriage in this rough-hewn residence. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Golden hour on the upstairs floor. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The spectacular – but spare – upstairs master suite. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The master bathroom with expansive views out over Lake Wallis. Photo – Brett Boardman.

From where you’d rather be! Photo – Brett Boardman.

The view from the living area across to the sleeping quarters. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The entire north-facing vantage opens up to the natural world. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The two concrete prisms are connected by a timber walkway, which leads to the bushland at the back of the property. Photo – Brett Boardman.

A stunning narrow lap pool surrounded by native grasses. Photo – Brett Boardman.

A birds-eye view is always better than a floor plan! The southern end of the property is raised on the natural incline of the block, while the main living quarters sit on the flattened, excavated slice of land at the fore. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Sasha Gattermayr
Thursday 11th June 2020

‘It’s about accepting imperfections that tell a story of the construction process.’ – Matthew Woodward

Matthew Woodward (of Matthew Woodward Architecture) describes his use of materials in this awe-inspiring Lake Wallis residence as ‘experimental’.

‘It’s about accepting imperfections, as they tell a story of the construction process,’ he explains. ‘Accepting blemishes, tarnishing, oxidisation and general weathering allows materials to age in their natural state, and provides a level of richness and integrity that differs from other houses.’

Situated on a 25-acre property (of which 20 acres are covered in native bushland), the house is inspired by the raw and exposed landscape it sits upon. Previous owners had excavated a level pad on the sloping block, buttressed by a concrete wall. The southern end of the residence is raised on the natural incline of the block, while the main living quarters sit on the flattened slice of land at the fore. The previously cut level exposed a cross section of the cliff’s shale rock face, which served as the starting point for the simple material palette.

The residence comprises of two rectangular concrete prisms in equal proportion, connected by a timber gangplank. Rough-sawn recycled Australian blackbutt was selected for its longevity, and has been milled from old telegraph poles and bridge piers. This hardwood exterior cladding greys over time and blends with the off-form concrete edifices that wrap the structure inside and out. While raw, exposed materials signal an aesthetic appeal to the environment, they were also chosen for their sustainability credentials. Off-form concrete stores thermal energy and embodies heat retention when exposed to solar heating, and blackbutt timber is local and recycled.

The north-facing house opens itself to the elements, utilising sliding glass doors on the lower levels and hydraulic levered timber screens on the upper floor to unfold the residence out onto the property. With bushland at the rear of the property and rolling, unimpeded views down to Lake Wallis, maximum connectivity to the natural surrounds was a key design tenet.

The landscaping is subtle but essential to a house so invested in its ability to rest easily in its environment. A narrow, free standing lap pool is lined with drooping native grass, while the exposed green roof garden can only be viewed from the raised lawn at the back of the residence overlooking the lake.

But it’s the upper level master suite which is truly astounding. Operable timber screens control sun exposure to the master bedroom but also open the entire structure up to a panoramic vantage over Lake Wallis. We could get used to the views from that bath!

See more projects from Matthew Woodward Architecture here.

This Week

On The Market

This Octagonal Home Maximises Every Angle – And It Could Be Yours

This cabin-like home in Sydney’s North Shore was designed by a pioneering member of the Sydney School. And now, it’s on the market!
Sasha Gattermayr

News

Calling All Creatives – Be Part Of MPavilion's Newly Expanded Program!

While there won’t be a new architecture commission for the 2020 MPavilion, the organisers are calling out for artists and creatives to...

Architecture

A Bold, Playful New Addition For An Edwardian Home

Studio Bright restore a heritage home in Northcote, and add a contemporary and characterful new extension.

Architecture

An Elegant Modern Home That Balances Indoor and Out

Travis Walton Architecture delicately balances innovation with tradition (and a healthy dose of green technology!) in this Caulfield North h...
Sasha Gattermayr

Giveaway

WIN A Fenton & Fenton Interior Design Consultation + $5000 To Spend!

Enter here for your chance to WIN a Fenton & Fenton design service experience, along with $5000 to elevate your home for winter!

News

Artist Vincent Namatjira Receives An Order of Australia

Celebrated South Australian artist Vincent Namatjira receives an OAM in the Queens Birthday 2020 honours list.

Homes

A Perfectly Pint-Sized, Art Deco Sydney Pad!

Interior architect Sophie Bowers and fashion stylist Josh Climpson share their renovated one-bedroom apartment in Sydney's Kensington.

Food

Julia's Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls With Cabbage Salad + Pickled Carrots

A bright and healthy rice bowl with plenty of colour and crunch for a satisfying lunch or dinner.
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Luxury Beach House Atop The Sand Dunes In Blairgowrie

There is poetry in the way this contemporary coastal sanctuary by Planned Living Architects speaks to its blustery surrounds with rare views...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Traditional Queenslander Reimagined As An Adaptable Home & Workspace

A clever renovation by Nielsen Jenkins, for an artistic couple seeking a more adaptable home and workspace, in Brisbane.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An Out Of The Ordinary Beach House in Phillip Island

Inside Casa X by Branch Studio Architects – a courtyard home in Phillip Island, inspired by the native landscape.

This Week

Studio Visit

The Graduate Designer Pushing The Limits Of Traditional Furniture Design

Brigitte Owers-Buccianti is the designer behind Real Non-Real, an exciting new practice making multi-functional furniture pieces.

Food

Julia's Herby Prawn Mayo Sandwiches

Julia Busuttil Nishimura serves up the ultimate summer sanga. YUM!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

News

Save Soho Rose Farm!

Donate to help save Victoria’s most beautiful field-grown roses, after a devastating hail storm. 

News

Ring In The New Year With A Massive DOMO Sale!

DOMO are bringing in the new year with up to 50% off major international brands.
Sponsored

Homes

Designer Anna Spiro’s Heavenly Island Home

The celebrated interior designer shares her relaxed yet luxurious Minjerribah/North Stradbroke holiday house.

Tiny Homes

The Most Inspiring Tiny Homes Of 2021

From converted shipping containers to prefabricated dwellings available for purchase, these were our favourite tiny houses of 2021.

Homes

The Experimental Melbourne Home Of Two Artists

The 'warped maximalist colour feast' home of artists Nabilah Nordin and Nick Modrzewski in Newport, Melbourne.
Lucy Feagins
  7 hours ago

Stays

The Most Dreamy Getaway Spots Of 2021

From beach shacks on Stradbroke Island to a Blue Mountains weekender that floats among the clouds, these are the hottest holiday spots of la...

On The Market

The Perfect Mid-Century, NSW South Coast Beach House Is For Sale

This mid-century Mollymook Beach house is perfect in its proportions, feel and water views... and it's on the market!

Architecture

9 Outrageously Beautiful Australian Coastal Homes

From humble shacks, to architectural masterpieces, these are our favourite beachside homes of 2021!

Gardens

Heide Museum’s Enchanting New Healing Garden

Heide Museum of Modern Art opens a new healing garden – a therapeutic space to benefit the mind, soul, and body.

Family

Artist Miranda Skoczek On Single Parenting, Smelling The Roses + Spontaneity

Artist Miranda Skoczek shares her multigenerational family life in the Dandenongs with son Harper and aunt Margaret.

Food

The Tastiest Recipes Of 2021

From savoury galettes to triple tiered vanilla sponges with craem and lemon curd, these are our five most popular recipes of last year.

Creative People

Seven Standout Emerging Creatives of 2021

Discovering talented new creatives is our favourite thing we do – here are the artists, designers and makers who got us talking in 2021.

Creative People

Creating Original, Ever-Changing Gardens With Kep Horticulture’s Andy Kepitis

Kep Horticulture founder Andy Kepitis talks how to create dynamic gardens, and his aversion to 'certain' plant palettes!

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Luxury Beach House Atop The Sand Dunes In Blairgowrie

There is poetry in the way this contemporary coastal sanctuary by Planned Living Architects speaks to its blustery surrounds with rare views...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Traditional Queenslander Reimagined As An Adaptable Home & Workspace

An adaptable home and workspace in Brisbane, by Nielsen Jenkins.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An Out Of The Ordinary Beach House in Phillip Island

Inside Casa X by Branch Studio Architects – a courtyard home in Phillip Island, inspired by the native landscape.

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.